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How Do Outlook and Relate?

I use Does that mean I don’t need Outlook? Are those just other names for the same thing? If not, how do they relate to each other?

The short answer is, they don’t. Not at all. They have only two things in common: they’re both related to email, and have the word “Outlook” in their names.

That’s pretty much where the similarity ends. It’s frustrating, because people often refer to “Outlook” when they mean “” … which is not actually related to “Outlook”.

Let’s define ’em, shall we?

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Outlook, which I often refer to as “Microsoft Office Outlook”, is:

  • A program you install onto your computer.
  • Part of Microsoft Office.
  • An email program that downloads your messages to the computer on which it’s installed.
  • A full-featured personal information manager (PIM) with address book, calendar, to-do list, and more.
  • Extensible, meaning Outlook can be extended via add-ins and macros.
Outlook is an email program you install on your PC. is a website you use to access email. is:

  • A website you visit using your web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or many others.
  • An email service on which you can create your own free email address ending in “”.
  • A replacement for
  • A web-based user interface used to access your existing Hotmail (and other Microsoft) email.

As you can see, doesn’t come close to relating to Outlook in any way.

Outlook is an email program you install on your PC; is a website you use to access email.

The only thing shares with Outlook is the word “Outlook”, which is apparently Microsoft’s attempt to create some kind of generic branding for anything email-related (thoroughly confusing users in the process).

Outlook Express

I have to include Outlook Express for completeness. Even though it’s long dead, its memory lingers on.

Outlook Express was:

  • A program you installed onto your computer.
  • Free; it was included on most Windows installations prior to Windows Vista, and came with Internet Explorer versions 6 and earlier.
  • An email program that downloaded your messages to the computer on which it was installed.
  • An internet news reader, as used to access Usenet newsgroups and other older internet news servers.
  • A contact list manager aimed primarily as a way of managing contacts specifically for mail and news.
  • Completely unrelated to Microsoft Office Outlook.

I say “was” because Outlook Express has been DISCONTINUED. Outlook Express has been formally discontinued by Microsoft and is not to be found in Windows versions beginning with Vista. In fact, Outlook Express simply will not run in Windows 7 or later.

Based on my experience answering questions and trying to help people with Outlook Express, my position is that it is long past time to move on and select another email program.

Which do you want?

Outlook – as in “Microsoft Office Outlook” – is a powerful email program targeted most at the business environment, email power users, or those who want the additional features it brings. With a lot of support from third-party vendors, including things like mobile device synchronization, Outlook can be a very reasonable choice for the home or casual user.

If you want a desktop email program, but Microsoft Office Outlook is overkill, there are many alternatives that you can get, many of them free. My standard recommendation is Thunderbird.

If you prefer to access your email on the web and have a Microsoft account, then is the website to go to. It is the primary means for accessing your,,,, or any number of other Microsoft-provided email services.

And Outlook Express is simply no longer an option.

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191 comments on “How Do Outlook and Relate?”

  1. What I don’t understand is why every report, execpt this one, that I’ve read ignores Express’ Internet News Reader. This is the most use news reader in the world today (I’m not saying the best). Even MS ignores it.

    • Here it is a year later, and is still basically worthless. Just out of curiosity I spent several hours uploading all my email from Outlook 2007. However, even after several “retries”, the upload process failed to move all my mail items, and seemed to randomly not upload various “subdirectories” from Outlook 2007.
      Perhaps MS has given up on this software without telling anyone.
      Not to mention that MS forces you to use their Explorer product to upload – acts like Chrome is the plague.

  2. For what it’s worth, i haven’t found one thing that Outlook can do for your basic home-end user that OE can’t do just as well. Not that it makes any difference to me, but Outlook doesn’t seem to be able to handle Hotmail accounts either.


  3. I tend to agree with you. OE is often the correct choice for home use. And you’re correct, Outlook does not support Hotmail the same way OE does. They keep threatening to remove the support from Hotmail that allows OE to continue to support it, though. Each time it’s mentioned there’s an backlash, so the result is it’s still there. For now :-).

    (Outlook supports hotmail in the sense that you can set the homepage for a folder to the hotmail homepage. Not “support” in the native sense.)


    • URL = web address, the stuff in your browser window telling you which site and page you are using, i.e.

        • I believe he was posting using the now-discontinued Microsoft Hindsight Explorer. This app allowed users to travel back in time and display remarkably prescient comments about any number of issues.

  4. You are quite correct. Outlook 2000 did not, but I overlooked the fact that with Outlook 2002/XP, and now again with Outlook 2003, Hotmail support has been added natively. Thanks for pointing it out. (Now using it myself also :-).

    As far as I can tell, it does’t download into your common inbox with other accounts, though, but rather sets up a parallel set of virtual folders that are a view onto the information up on hotmail. Still, it makes managing hotmail email much, much easier.


    • I know one thing, and that is they killed Hotmail years ago as a platform, only a legacy address for email now but it was so popular that people generically call MS email Hotmail like cola is Coke or tissues are Kleenex.

      This makes it even harder to figure out what people are asking about when you are trying to provide a peer solution on Microsoft’s Answers site.

      Microsoft basically Outlooked themselves to death. I also though OE 6 was killed off a long time ago and I’ve moved on and never looked back. Since I don’t use Office (WordPerfect user since the 80s) all these things are Geek to me, but I also noticed that despite ample warning nobody really wants to listen of believe any of these changes are real, or won’t be rolled back.

      I DID notice that the (, the OLD email) I do have still finally settled down and works well again. PERHAPS they have seen what a mess they made things, with people desperately trying to restore thousands of messages back to their inboxes, loss of contacts, and not much in the way of backup and I really don’t think they bother to search Answers FOR answers, they are expecting, no, DEMANDING the Microsoft fix it. Then you tell them that Answers is not really Microsoft Support, it’s just other users trying to solve Microsoft’s problems for them, they get disgusted and threaten to use Gmail (and Yahoo Mail can’t be newly imported as of the first of the month because Y! locked it down after their problems)…

      Or they shrug and ask why they ever bothered. Who would have thought that email would bring Windows and the internet to it’s knees?

      Ming the Merciless must be pleased, wherever he is.

  5. I am considering an upgrade from O/E to Outlook 2000 to gain the calendar and task organizing capabilities. Does Outlook support mulitple identities as O/E does? I haven’t been able to find any specific info on this.

  6. I think Outlook uses the concept of “profile” (Outlook user profile: A group of e-mail accounts and address books. Typically, a user needs only one but can create any number, each with a set of e-mail accounts and address books. Multiple profiles are useful if more than one person uses the computer. ) When I go to Outlook “help,” it seems to offer plenty of advice on how to tap into this feature. You can apparently set up Outlook to prompt for which profile you want to use each time Outlook is launched. I’ve never tried it, but assume it works akin to identities in O/E…

  7. I thank you for the explanation as to the difference between the two. I just wish I could get someone to explain how I can set up Outlook 2000 to be mailer handler. I am presently using outlook express v6. Am still using windows 98 with upgrades.

  8. Annette: where are you having trouble? Typically it’s a matter of installing outlook, and configuring your email accounts, and off you go.


  9. Leo, thanks for your comments about installing outlook. I have tried everything and still cannot get outlook to send or receive mail… stuck. have even been onto microsoft support… I must be short of the grey matter. Thank you anyhow

  10. For anyone else that comes along via a Google search…

    Outlook 2000 doesn’t seem to support IMAP very well/if at all. After using it for years with my POP accounts, I’ve had to recently switch to OE in order to work with my new IMAP account. OE is fine — except I miss having calendar and better contact mgmt integrated into my mailer. So presently, I’m forced to use both of them.

    I’m too poor to upgrade to Outlook 2003/XP. But I am beginning to seriously consider moving to OpenOffice or one of the other free/cheap Office clones.

  11. FWIW: openoffice does not include a mailer / PIM. If that’s all you’re looking to replace, you may need to look elsewhere. I have played some with open office and have been reasonably impressed, but noticed the lack of an outlook equivalent right away.


  12. Can Outlook and Outlook Express be used on two different pc’s to access (read and pull in) the same emails on one POP3 account.

  13. Sure. Just make sure that one (or both) have the advanced setting “leave message on server” set. If you do that for both, you’ll have to manage deleting the files on server somehow (there are options). If you do it only on one, then make sure that one always reads email *first*, as the second will remove the messages from the POP3 server.

    This later scenario is what I use when travelling, where I’m reading mail on another machine than I do at home. When I return home, I have one download that gets all the mail again.


  14. I have been using OE. I just installed Outlook 2003. Is there a way to transfer ALL of my folders and subfolders with their messages intact over to Outlook 2003. What seems to happen is that the messages (or at least some of them)come over but not the folders

  15. Not quite sure what to tell you. I just verified an OE to Outlook2003 import that included subfolders and all worked as expected. Are there any other common threads to the emails that might be missing? Do you have your view in Outlook set such that everything is displayed?

  16. I would, in outlook create a Personal Address Book, copy all my contacts into that, and then Import that into Outlook Express. I’ve not tried this, but it seems the most direct route.

  17. Hi,
    Is there any way that I can get Outlook express to use the Outlook contacts folder? I want to be able to make changes to my contacts and then send e-mails through express. I don’t want to have to keep importing the address book from outlook to use on express.

  18. The toolbar keeps disappearing on my (latest) version of Outlook Express. Can anyone help me with this, please?

  19. I have Outlook on one computer and Outlook Express on a different one for the same email account. When I read messages on one computer, those messages do not appear at all in the inbox on the other computer, so my two inboxes in the two programs have different messages. Since it is the same email account, shouldn’t it have the same inbox wherever I access it, and in any program? How do I fix this? I tried to recover the messages by setting the option “leave messages on server” but the messsages didn’t appear in the other inbox.

  20. Since email programs download the messages to their own local storage, what you’re experiencing is expected. You need to make sure that both are configured to leave messages on the server for some period of time.

  21. Dear Leo,
    Thanks for answering my previous post! I have an iPaq and have synchronized with Outlook 2002. As far as I know the Notes however can’t transfer categories into the iPaq. I have tried to create folders in my iPaq and file them but the Notes disappear from outlook. It seems that outlook can only ‘see’ the notes when they are moved up to one sub folder from ‘My Documents’ in the iPaq. But that I mean that I have a folder called ‘Notes’ in ‘My Documents’ in the iPaq and outlook can read and synchronize that. Any other folder within ‘Notes’ cannot be read by outlook. Is there any way I can make Outlook see the whole tree (ex: My Documents/Notes/Hotels), or any way I can have categories in the iPaq? Will outlook 2003 solve either of these?
    Thanks. Alexis

  22. I don’t really have any good answers for you other than to guess that outlook 2003 probably won’t change/help. Typically these types of issues are a function of the ActiveSync software used to synchronize between the devices.

  23. Hello,
    I am trying to access ATT email from their internet POP and SMTP servers instead of dialing into their private network. The problem is I can receive email in Outlook 2002 but cannot send email through the SMTP. I get an error couldn’t log in – bad username/password. This function works on Outlook Express. I either need a calandar that works with Outlook Express or a any suggestions on how to get Outlook 2002 working. ATT says sorry bud — we only support Outlook Express. After reading your article I understand they are different programs. Any Hints

  24. Well, if OE works there’s no reason that Outlook shouldn’t work. The key is to make sure that the sending server, as well as the advanced options for the outgoing server are identical to your OE configuration. They key ones might be whether the outgoing server requires authentication, and which of the 3 or so options should be used.

  25. Hello,

    I am using Outlook 2000 and Outlook Express on the same machine. I have two seperate e-mail accounts through the same ISP. All of my incoming e-mails for both accounts is showing up in my Outlook express inbox. Any idea how I can fix this? Thamks.

  26. If they’re truly two separate accounts, then OE is configured to read them both. Check the configuration. It’s also possible that you’ve been given two email addresses that feed the same account … you’ll have to check with your ISP on that.

  27. Hi Leo,
    I have exported all my mail from Microsoft Outlook to Outlook Express. Problem is the calendar in Outlook Express is now a folder and I can’t change it back. Any deas.

  28. Dear leo,

    I would like to know that i m win98 in my comp. In that my OE some times does not show the mail of inbox. Although it shows that there are some mail in the inbox but does not view the mails. What could be the problem??

    Ravi batra

  29. Dear leo,

    I would like to know that i m having win98 in my comp. In that my OE some times does not show the mail of inbox. Although it shows that there are some mail in the inbox but does not view the mails. What could be the problem??

    Ravi batra

  30. I’d double check the outgoing server (SMTP) settings configured in OE for your account. What they’re set to will depend on your ISP, so check with them for the proper settings.

  31. Leo

    Same issue as for Jacqueline above. How do I export Outlook 2000 address list to Outlook Express 6 (Win XP op system) on same pc?

  32. Leo,
    My outlook express cannot recieve any emails and i cannot send an emails or look at any attachments if i try to send a email this message will come up; This Message Has Not Completed Downloading. It Cannot Be Saved Until Download Is Complete. Can You Please Help Me? P.s. The telus people said that it was something i downloaded.

  33. Leo,
    My outlook express cannot recieve any emails and i cannot send an emails or look at any attachments if i try to send a email this message will come up; This Message Has Not Completed Downloading. It Cannot Be Saved Until Download Is Complete. Can You Please Help Me? P.s. The telus people said that it was something i downloaded.

  34. Leo,
    My outlook express cannot recieve any emails and i cannot send an emails or look at any attachments if i try to send a email this message will come up; This Message Has Not Completed Downloading. It Cannot Be Saved Until Download Is Complete. Can You Please Help Me? P.s. The telus people said that it was something i downloaded.

  35. I have SBS 2000 Exchange server. I have two POP accounts ( and ). My server fetching the mails from outside and distributes also very fine to my users, but its unable to download in its own outlook express 6.0(updated) and showing error
    (An unknown error has occurred. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133)
    How can I resolve it.

  36. Through outlook express is the only way I’m aware of. While Hotmail still allows Outlook Express to have access, import the contacts into it. Then import the OE contacts into Outlook.

  37. I have Outlook 2000 and Outlook Express. OE works and I can get e-mails and send them. But OL does not work. Error code: 0x800ccoe any help??

  38. Leo,
    I have problem to download my hotmail’s emails from outlook. Its seems to be a password issue as I am asked to enter my user Id and my password. The problem is that even if i enter them i still having the same request ” enter your Id and passw…”

    thanks for your help

  39. In my outlook express, I am unable to send or receive mail.(An unknown error has occurred. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133)
    What is this? how can i fix it?

  40. I’ve been using Outlook Express for some time now but now i want to use thhe added features offered by Microsoft Outlook….i’ve been using 1 POP a/c and one hotmail account…..there are a few local folders in which i ttransfer mails to….could you pls tell me how can i shiftt all my data and folders into Microsoft Outlook without any flaw?

  41. In my outlook express, I am unable to send or receive mail.(An unknown error has occurred. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133)
    What is this? how can i fix it? thanks FIL

  42. If I uninstall MS Office, will it affect my Oulook Express? ie. will i lose my messages and address book?
    My outlook express is connected to my hotmail account.

  43. Try compact the folder, this will work in most cases.

    Account: ‘youservername’, Server: ‘yourservername’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133)

  44. A question actually, can I create a separate address book for Outlook Express where I keep a large number of contacts and a distribution list.
    This would be separate from my normal contacts in OE although the names might appear in both. I’d import the names from a .csv file.

  45. I recently reformatted my hard drive. I also installed XP Office. But I’d just like to get my Outlook Express back, which seems to have been superseded by Outlook. Where do I find the application, or do I no longer have it? Many thanks.

  46. In my outlook express, I am unable to send or receive mail.(An unknown error has occurred. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133)
    What is this? how can i fix it? FIL

  47. Looks like your account configuration is wrong. Normally where you currently see “”, you would see the name of a mail server. You need to check with your ISP and find out what SHOULD be there, and update your account information to specify the right things for SMTP and POP3 servers.

  48. Hi Leo

    I am using Outlook.

    People tell me I don’t need Outlook Express
    installed when you want to install and use Outlook, but I have tried to do it as they say.

    What am I doing wrong, because my version of Outlook (XP) complains and would not start without Outlook Express installed?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.

    Francois Moller
    Cape Town

  49. Outlook Express is NOT required in order to run Outlook. I’d have to know the specific error message you’re seeing to try and diagnose what might be causing the problem you’re seeing.

  50. Our company gets between 300 to 400 emails per day. We are currently using Outlook Express (OE) as the viewer on our back-up email server, and have taken advantage of the OE message rules feature to “filter out” postmaster and other repeated nusance incoming emails.

    Do you know if macros can be used with OE? We not interested in elaborate/expensive software to use as an add-in or in place of Outlook or OE.

    I have a better understanding of the differences between Outlook and OE from your article (“How do Outlook and Outlook Express relate? “), it was of great help.

    BRH-Norcross, Georgia

  51. B Hamm: unfortunately OE cannot be extended, so there’s no macro capability there. Look into it’s rules processing though. Outlook has even more powerful rules facility that may be of use.

  52. My boss wants to transfer all his mail from Outlook 2002 to Outlook Express 6.0, is there any simple way to do that?

  53. I’ve reinstalled XP and am trying to re-import the messages from my old OE inbox to my new “empty” OE inbox. The messages are saved on a disk, and are also copied on the new desktop. I can get about a third of my saved messages re-import to the new inbox, but that’s it. I’ve tried several times and OE always stops importing at the same number of messages–roughly 2500 of 7500 messages total. Any ideas how to coax OE into importing all of them? I’ve just purchased a OE repair software, whose demo was able to extract some of the messages from the backup file, and I’m hopeful it can do the trick. But while I wait for that software to arrive, any ideas would be appreciated.

  54. I have Outlook Express and I use it regularly, but recently when I tried to install MS Outlook (to use the to-do list and calendar features with my Ipaq) all files installed, but when I open it, it cannot open the Outlook window (and therefore the entire program). Is there a feature in Outlook Express or windows that could be preventing the program? I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling several times, to no avail.

  55. I can’t get Outlook Express to allow me to access my Hotmail account. In Outlook it was an automatic option for me to click and get my Hotmail folders set up, but with OE there’s not automatic pop-up option box. What to do?

    Thanks! in advance for any helpful advice you may be able to offer . . .

    PS I tried to click on the article “Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express” and I immediately receive the Error Message “Forbidden
    You do not have permission to access this document. Web Server at”. So I tried to follow your “Please Note: Before commenting, please read the article. The full article at the top of this very page.”, but wasn’t able to do so.

  56. I can’t get Outlook Express to allow me to access my Hotmail account. In Outlook it was an automatic option for me to click and get my Hotmail folders set up, but with OE there’s not automatic pop-up option box. What to do?

    Thanks! in advance for any helpful advice you may be able to offer . . .

    PS I tried to click on the article “Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express” and I immediately receive the Error Message “Forbidden
    You do not have permission to access this document. Web Server at”. So I tried to follow your “Please Note: Before commenting, please read the article. The full article at the top of this very page.”, but wasn’t able to do so.

  57. Where do I get Outlook Express repair tools referred to above?

    Mistake 0x800C0133 is making my life misery. Not letting emails in. Out is OK. Tried the compressing option, didn’t work for me. There’s another suggestion somewhere that I’ve lost track of, to make a new inbox in Outlook Express. How?

    My Outlook Express will not delete normally, only by using simultaneously “Delete” and “Shift”, after which no deleted mails are visible anywhere.

    I have to say I’m only PC semi-literate. As a journalist/translator I need email desperately.

    Any simple help out there?


    Diet Simon

  58. Mistake 0x800C0133 is making my life misery. Not letting emails in. Out is OK. Cable service is OK. I’ve heard something about an Inbox workaround but don’t know if I did it right? Also someone mentioned a compression fix?

  59. Actually there is a bit of code shared. this was (is?) evident in the Advanced mail settings SSL bug which for many years did not click the port number to 465 when the ssl checkbox is checked – it stayed on port 25. this same bug appeared in both outlook express and outlook.

  60. Please help me to fix my outlook express. i can send but not recieve. i get this error in outlook An unknown error has occurred. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Error Number: 0x800C0133 ………the isp tech support cant help.. ive tried to redownload outlook express with no luck.. any ideas what is going on and how to fix it? any help apprecieted. thanks Cindy



  62. Just solved the problem (0x800C0133 error in outlook express), simply create a new identity and import all the emails and settings in the new identity. it should work that way.


  63. I am trying to set up outlook but can’t get started because the “Outlook.pst file could not be found” I have tried a search of my entire computer to locate it but to no avail. Any suggestions??

  64. I met an error:0x800c1033, the first my outlook express couldn’t receive new emails and Inbox folder’s empty suddenly and then now it’s able to send and receive after I already moved inbox.dbx to other place…and also I need old emails, can’t be re-opened, very important with me.
    I find out that inbox.bdx is very big 2.145
    GB, I tried creating a new identity and import them again ,,but still can’t..pls tell me the ways to see and take out all those old emails.

    can I use other email propgram supporting big capacity to import inbox.dbx from outlook express? can i do?

    Thank you very much.

  65. Tammy posted this question 2-24-2006 approx 5:30 AM. “HOw can I transfer Outlook Express emails from one computer to Outlook on another computer?
    Thanks-” But no one has answered the question. I was directed her by her question via google search

  66. PST files can be read only by Outlook, not Outlook Express. I believe by running Outlook you can export to Outlook Express.

  67. We are having problems with Outlook at our organisation. Everyone is being prompted for a password when they to open it. We have resolved to OE. How can we migrate our documents from Ooutlook to OE?

  68. my DBX folder is 4 gig, I setup a new indentity,
    copied all my old e mail into that. Then deleted all my messages from current indentity folder.
    the folders size stayed the same, I then deleted all individual dbx files( including the deleted DBX folder,size did reduce but they return, and my indentity folder is huge again.
    what is happening ??, why can’t I keep my current indentity folder small.


  69. How can I get address book and mail boxes from outlook express that no longer works (it is dead) – I want to use Outlook instead. Then I want to import Address & boxes.


  70. I have used Microsoft Outlook for several years but recently took the computer in to be serviced and now I cannot get Microsoft outlook just outlook express. I have an XP and need the calendar feature.
    When I go thru the tests of the setting it says “Please verify email address field”. My address email field is correct. When I hit the send/receive buttom it gives me an error of “The operation failed an object could not be found. The service folks nor earthlink can figure it out. HELP

  71. I get this error when I tried to enter a calendar appoitment

    the form required to view this message cannot be displayed contact your administrator

    Can you help

    John Rimel

  72. I have migrated from Outlook Express to Outlook 2002. What I do not see when I open a message containing attachments (.jpeg etc) is a plain old picture like I had in Outlook Express. Is there some sort of setting I need to redo on my outlook 2002??

    Hash: SHA1

    No. Outlook does not automatically display attachments. You must open
    them separately. This article has more:

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


  74. If I copy the files in the store folder on Outlook Express:

    “On the old machine, the easiest way to locate Outlook Express’ email store is to ask Outlook Express. Fire it up, and then in Tools, Options, on the Maintenance tab there’s a button labeled Store Folder. Click that, and it will tell you the folder containing your email folder.

    Copy the entire contents of that directory to a floppy, CD-ROM or share on your network.”

    Can these be opened in Outlook (not Outlook Express)?


    Hash: SHA1

    No. You must first have them in an instance of Outlook Express. Then you can
    import them into Outlook.

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


  76. I have Outlook and Outlook Express on my PC. I wish to change over to Outlook, how do I do this? I just used this question because I would also like to transfer my info to Outlook as well.

  77. My suggestion is to switch to using Mozilla Thunderbird. It is designed to be a simple email program or expand with the use of addons to be as powerful as Outlook. I use it to manage my email, contacts with phone numbers and addresses and notes, and my calendar. I can also sync it with my Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 5 using a third party application called Birdie Sync.

  78. Since Outlook Express and Outlook are not one, may Outlook Express be deleted completely?

    In theory, I suppose, but the problem is that it’s so tightly interwoven with Internet Explorer, which itself is so rightly interwoven with Windows that it’s typically just not worth the effort. There is no simple “uninstall”.


  79. It is possible to uninstall Outlook Express- pretty much… Start/Settings/Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs and select Windows Components on the left.

  80. I would like to transfer my Outlook Express address book into Outlook Contacts where I have all my contacts addresses and telephone numbers that I synchronized from my Palm, but not my email addresses that I have in Outlook Express. How do I do that?

    Thank you

  81. I want to transfer my old (Outlook Express) email to my new machine (using Outlook). I tried to go through Windows Live Mail first (since it is sort of replacing Outlook Express) but I couldn’t do it. Do you have any concrete suggestions. The old mailbox files are about 8 GB in size.

  82. My email was OE and was transferred to Yahoo by AT&T – I want Outlook express back, but AT&T tells me that I cannot go back. Is there another email account that I can use?

  83. I am getting a new PC with Vista. Presently using OE. Friend says to convert to Outlook on old PC before I transfer files to Vista. Why?

  84. For a number of reasons, I run both Outlook and Outlook Express (on a variety of machines that I have networked). Why is it that whichever is open when mail arrives displays the mail but those emails are not subsequently found in the other program? Put simply, if Outlook is running and receives an email, if/when I later open Outlook Express and download messages, any messages already received by Outlook are not “received” – (and vice-versa).

    I would like for ALL emails to be received by both programs (not simply on a first-come-first-served basis).

    Is there a “fix”?

    This is totally expected. Mail programs *download* email, thus removing it from the mail server. As you see the first program to download the mail gets the mail.

    The solution is to either use IMAP instead of POP3 (I’m weak on this, but my understanding is that this will work) which leaves the messages on the server, or in the advanced settings for your POP3 account in Outlook you can also check “leave a copy on the server”.

    – Leo
  85. I get sending and receiving errors on my outlook express 2003 version which says
    Task ‘ – Sending’ reported error (0x8004210B) : ‘The operation timed out waiting for a response from the sending (SMTP) server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).’

  86. Now that I have Windows 7 on my laptop, I can’t find Outlook Express anywhere in my programs. Microsoft Office Outlook is there as expected but I am presently experimenting with Thunderbird which comes with Firefox.

  87. I would like to transfer my Outlook Express address book into Outlook Contacts where I have all my contacts addresses and telephone numbers that I synchronized from my Palm, but not my email addresses that I have in Outlook Express. How do I do that?

  88. How do I transfer emails from Outlook 2002 to Outlook Express?
    My current OS is Windows XP SP3. I intend to upgrade my PC to Windows 7 and move my mail from Outlook to Windows Live Mail.
    I understand that I must first convert my mail from Outlook to Outlook Express.

    Maybe someone else will have an idea, but I’m not aware of a way to go “backwards” from Outlook to Outlook Express.


  89. How do I transfer contacts from Outlook 2002 to Outlook Express?
    My current OS is Windows XP SP3. I intend to upgrade my PC to Windows 7 and move my mail from Outlook to Windows Live Mail.
    I understand that I must first convert my mail from Outlook to Outlook Express.

  90. My desktop uses XP. My laptop, Win 7. I’ve used Outlook Express (OE) since the late ’90s. IMO, it was one of M$’s best programs, and I was sorry to see it disappear. M$ has a habit of replacing tried an true programs with “new” programs that don’t work as well. I use Windows Live Mail (WLM) and Thunderbird (both) on my Win 7 laptop. WLM is the most like OE, so you might be more comfortable with it, but some things have been dropped; e.g., you cannot apply a color background to a message, and you can’t choose how names in your contacts list display in an e-mail. It also has trouble rendering some e-mails with embedded pictures. When you forward it, the embedded pictures wind up getting attached to the message, not embedded in it. Thunderbird doesn’t have that problem, DOES provide for colored backgrounds and handles embedded pictures correctly, but has a huge preview pane header that takes up way to much vertical space on a (narrow) laptop screen. In WLM, you can easily eliminate that header. The average user can’t do that in T-Bird; it takes a programmer. And T-Bird is extremely slow at downloading e-mails.

    E-mail programs are like cars — nobody has yet invented the perfect one.

  91. WHY would anybody want to go back to outlook Express!!!! You can use easier that that. I am glade Microsoft discontinued that not so good product and someone want to go back. IT IS DEAD!!! I am using Outlook 2010 and very happy.

  92. Don Taber has noticed the same problem that bugs me about Thunderbird, that it ‘has a huge preview pane header that takes up way too much vertical space on a (narrow) laptop screen.’
    So, my question is whether this ‘problem’ can be dealt with. If so, how? Can the toolbars be adjusted go give a similar arrangement to that in Outlook Express. I am sure we are not the only ones to find OE to suit their purpose best and want its replacement to appear in a similar guise.
    Alternatively, can the extra facilities in Outlook be removed so it is, essentially, similar to OE. If so, how?
    As Don said, too, no one has invented a suitable replacement for OE, yet. So, there’s a challenge for someone!

  93. My computer is a Dell Dim. 2400, OS Win. XP SP3. Built 2003, Purchased 2005.
    I”ve always used Outlook Express and will use it until I purchase a new computer, or it starts giving me problems. Just because it is no longer supported doesn’t mean it’s no good. XP SP2 is no longer supported but people still use it. On a Forum I visit a lot, People have more problems with Thunderbird and other email programs than they do with OE.

  94. You advise moving away from OE, but I have a very large folder collection and I could not do with it not being available. Is it transferable?

    It depends on what email program you move to, but in general the answer is yes: folders can be imported into other email programs.

    • I installed Windows Live Mail to replace Outlook Express. Can I safely delete OE, without losing my current mail? I’m wondering because when I open OE, it’s still receiving mail…the same messages that appear in WLM. Thanks.

      • As long as all the mail you want to keep appears in WLM, OE is no longer needed. I wouldn’t bother uninstalling it – just stop opening it.

  95. Why no mention of windows live mail? This what I have been using for a few years. It sets up the same to me for Yahoo(FIOS). You can save the emails for offline viewing, just like OE. I still have it installed, but do not use it.

  96. To Don Taber and Tony Kightley:

    Do you have the CompactHeader Add-On installed in Thunderbird?

    Using CompactHeader, my header is only three lines high: From line, Subject line, To line. If I double click on the header, it goes into compact mode, where the header is now only one line (Subject, From, and To are all displayed on one line).

    Of course you should also make sure that under the View menu, that Headers is set to Normal, not All. All displays a large header area that can’t be resized.

  97. Leo, I see you are at it again. Bad mouthing Outlook Express. I know you like thunderbird but it is not a good replacement for Outlook Express. I am not sure why you have never liked Outlook Express but you have never liked it long before it was discontinued by Microsoft and that is your option and your opinion.

    Thunderbird is a good Email client but it is not a replacement for Outlook Express. Thunderbird is too bland to replace Outlook Express. Thunderbird does not do stationary. Sometimes I like to put stationery in my Email. It does not leave the sound in the email but makes it an attachment. Sometimes it even does that to pictures. It does not condense the folder bar. It is a good Email client for people who like things bland.

    I know that Microsoft has discontinued support for Outlook Express but then Microsoft does a lot of silly things. For a long as I can use it I will and even then I will try to find a way to still use it. Leo, may I ask you to stop bad mouthing Outlook Express? You are too bias to give a good report for Outlook Express.

    My “bad mouthing” as you put it is based SOLELY on the experiences I hear of people losing email, and the fact that Outlook Express will never, ever again be updated. Outlook Express was a GREAT email program, and enabled huge numbers of people to communicate on the internet. But in the 9 years of doing this my experience is that no other email program has lost more people more email. So, no, I cannot in good concious stop “bad mouthing” it. As another commenter has already pointed out there are stationary plugins for Thunderbird – but honestly this isn’t even about Thunderbird (for example, my wife has never used Thunderbird, and likely never will – she’s used Outlook, from Microsoft Office, for years, and is currently using Gmail’s web interface). This is about using something other than Outlook Express, and there are many, many options. In my opinion continuing to use Outlook Express puts your email at risk. If you can live with that risk, perhaps because you have an exceptionally robust backup system, or perhaps you consider my experience invalid, then of course, you have the option of staying with Outlook Express for as long as you like. It’s just not an option that I can endorse.

  98. @Ron
    There are plug-ins for Thunderbird to use stationery.
    As for whether it’s as good or not that is always a matter of personal requirements and tastes. the fact remains that now OE is unsupported and has many issues, including losing emails. We just have to live with what’s available. If OE works for you, which it does for many people then by all means stick with it. It’s just that in general, because of the many problems, Leo recommends against the risk of using it.

  99. Leo, The only reason you’ve given for continually disrespecting Outlook Express is that you’ve heard complaints from a lot of people about problems, but that’s not conclusive evidence. I’m convinced that the people who complain to you about a problem with Outlook Express don’t even have a rudimentary understanding of how to operate what is a very simple and almost bullet-proof program. I’ve been forced to try many other e-mail client programs on my Windows 7 laptop, and haven’t found one that performs as well on my super computer as Outlook Express does on a low-ram, slow-CPU, slow-HD relic running Windows XP. There is no rational reason for a user to prefer Thunderbird over Outlook Express, unless they prefer sluggish performance, a clunky interface, and iffy behavior with simple tasks like message filters.

    On September 28, commenter James mentioned a Thunderbird add-on called Compact Header. I use that too. But when I first started using Thunderbird, I had to put up with that ill-thought-out space-wasting big fat header until I was lucky enough to discover Compact Header. But then there was the problem that every time Thunderbird did a version update, Compact Header stopped working until its development team came up with an update to match. In my opinion, one shouldn’t have to download an add-on to do a task that should have been built into the basic program. Thunderbird is on Version 15 I believe. Fifteen revisions since its debut while Outlook Express, as far as I can tell, is the same program that installed with Windows 98 over 15 years ago. I guess that something that’s built right the first time doesn’t need revisions every two or three months like Thunderbird did before they stopped developing it.

    I don’t know what those complainers are doing that causes them to break Outlook Express. I have saved e-mail dating back to 1997 on the machine that runs Outlook Express. It has never broken.

    It would be great if Microsoft would sell the code for Outlook Express to a third party developer who would update it to run with Vista and Windows 7 and then market it. I would be happy to buy a copy and I bet a lot of other disgruntled former Outlook Express users would be too.

  100. Leo,
    Several comments from Ron and Edward are relevant: (1) OE has been around since W 98 and is very reliable; (2) for the average person just doing e-mails and sending attachments (photos, Pdf’s etc.) the less is simpler. Remember not everyone is completely computer savvy from the get-go, especially us late starters with computers and there uses, remember your Grandmother never saw a computer as a girl but might want to use one to keep in touch with family and via Skype, so think KISS
    Even some Microsoft code writers agree has never been adjusted-upgraded like some of their other e-mail programs (Outlook, Access, and Windows-Live) – Outlook is really a nightmare to navigate easily and set up your address book, e-mail addresses, as it looks more like a word document heading/taskbar and confuses many people (by having to set so much up before being really able to use and who found Outlook Express USER friendly for years). Like Edward I have used OE since the 90’s and never [really] had any crashes or lost data; I have more than 167,000 emails and 6,789 addresses in my WAB in this time.
    Only bug they placed in the original code was the use of “Dbx.” format for the file set up. So when we are now forced to migrate to another system everything has to be transposed into either a “Pst. – Csv. – Eml. – format”; as “Dbx.”; cannot be read by Outlook. Was not a simple job and even for Microsoft Support had trouble guiding me through the Microsoft web-site maze on how to do it, took 3 tries before it worked, so now all are in “Pst.”
    Someone at Microsoft should ask before making such changes and frustrate the users who have been satisfied for so many years; maybe Microsoft should offer a modified Outlook version which should integrate all the Outlook Express features for those who think KISS is the best solution.
    W 8 looks like it MAY be more user friendly and intuitive by its looking like an “i-Pad” type screen!

  101. I have used Outlook Express for about 17 years now and I do not recall ever losing an Email. You should not listen to rumors about OE. I have heard that Thunderbird has a lot of problems but I don’t know if it is true as I have never used it. For that reason I will not bad mouth it. Hint. Hint.

  102. Hi Leo, My sister-in-law has a Dell m1530 laptop
    running Windows Vista. She has not used it in 2
    years. It has 989 emails in the Windows mail box
    in the in box. I unloaded the spam folder and the
    deleted folder. I can only delete from the inbox
    one at a time. Is there a faster way? She had as an ISP. She is not using windows mail or outlook or How to
    change to ? Can her laptop be upgraded to Windows 7 (some flavor- maybe Home or Pro) ? I defragged the disk, ran the Mafee Scan. It needs a backup. Thanks

    You should be able to delete a page at a time at least. At the top of the list of messages there should be an additional checkbox at the top of the column containing checkboxes. Check that to select all, and then click on delete. I am confused because you say that she has 989 mails in her Windows Mail box, but she doesn’t use Windows Mail? To change to Yahoo simply open a Yahoo email account ang begin using it instead of the old account, making sure to tell everyone the new email address. Not sure on the Windows 7 upgrade, as it really depends on the specifications of the machine. TYPICALLY for a machine running Vista the answer is yes.

  103. Hey Leo, did you check out the solution to Outlook Express for windows 7/8 presented by some company named Zinstall?
    It seems like they have some kind of product that’s supposed to transfer your OE from your old computer to the new one.
    What do you think? (Haven’t tried it myself yet, so I’m wondering)

    • I’ve not looked into that one, but mostly because I believe that OE simply needs to be abandoned. It’s not supported so even if you CAN get it running on Windows 7 you’re still running an unsupported email program with known problems. It’s time to move on.

  104. In “The Ask Leo!” Newsletter’s blue pop-up which appears a little way down every issue, there is this line:
    “Sign up now and you’ll recieve a FREE copy of my new ebook: Backing Up 101!”
    In this, PLEASE fix the SPELLING MISTAKE – “recieve” should be “receive”.
    Many thanks for an excellent publication! Dick J.

  105. *sigh* We’ve been encountering email problem on our company some our getting corrupted mail, suddenly vanishing etc etc. It’s hard to fix the corrupted files even with a specialized software some of them just doesn’t work. I know it’s time to change to a new email software but unfortunately I doubt our company will do that.

  106. I’ve recently replaced our small office computer. For ease of use for the elders that are used to using the older programs, I re-installed Office XP on the new computer that is running Windows 7. I can not get Outlook to send emails. I keep getting the same error :
    “Task ‘ – Sending and Receiving’ reported error (0x800CCC78) : ‘Unable to send the message. Please verify the e-mail address in your account properties. The server responded: ??'”
    I have verified the email address and passwords are correct. We use Hotmail/ for our email (old account). What am I missing??

  107. Conversion is possible between Outlook Express and MS Outlook. Most of Outlook Express users are moving towards MS Outlook due to denial of XP service. This conversion is done through advanced DBX to PST converter software.After getting resulted data in to PST format, User can import in to MS Outlook. Now, you can resume your work with exiting emails in MS Outlook premises.

  108. I have windows 8 laptop and was using as an email address, this has now stopped recieving and sending emails and i cant work out what to do to resolve it can you advise please.

  109. I have Outlook 2007 which I use for managing e-mail and contacts only. Do I gain anything by buying a newer version of Outlook?

    • Hi Pat Loftus,

      Of-course, It is quite late response from my end. But, I think it would be beneficial for others.

      You can try Thunderbird as an alternative of MS Outlook. This email client has been gained remarkable popularity in email client market. You can also transfer existing emails of MS Outlook into Thunderbird through converting PST file into MBOX file format.
      The biggest beauty of Thunderbird email client is open source.

  110. I have Outlook 2007 on my home computer. I access my email through I have my calendar and contacts in also and everything syncs with my Windows Phone beautifully. I want to buy a new computer and am trying to figure out what I need to install. Can I get rid of outlook 2007 without effecting my contacts and calender on

  111. My Computer O/S is Windows 7
    I am using Outlook 2003 from Microsoft Office
    I have recently discovered that within Personal Folders and under Search Folders there
    is a folder titled Emails from Outlook Express which contained all my emails,
    both Received and Sent since 2005.
    Believing that these were taking up memory I deleted all of them.
    The result of this was I lost ALL my emails and now do not know how to recover them.
    Thank you

  112. We are running Outlook 2010 on Windows 8.0. We sync with Hotmail. This has worked relatively well for several years. Two or three weeks ago Outlook and Hotmail quit talking to each other. Error message “Hotmail cannot sync with Outlook,” and/or “Outlook cannot sync with Hotmail.” We have tried many, many on-line suggestions without success. Am hoping you have the magic answer! Thank you!

  113. I have 2 separate hotmail accounts. When I open them I am taken to different pages. One is: and the other is: They have different functionalities. One has an advanced search option that I use to delete old emails, the other does not have this option. The one with the advance search comes up with “Outlook” in the upper left corner of the screen and the other one has “Outlook (Preview). Is there any way to get one like the other? Any idea why they are different?

    • doesn’t make changes all at once, they roll out changes to some accounts before others. Sounds like your two accounts are at different places in the roll out. I know of no way to force it.

    • Speaking of changes, does anyone know what Microsoft did to / a few months back? Whenever I use it now it displays the folders down the left, and on the right it demands that I “Select an item to read – click here to always select the first in the list”. That seems pointless because there is no list of emails displayed, and clicking on the “click here” text has no effect. I’m running the latest version of Chrome, over Win8.1, and I’d be interested to hear if I’m alone in experiencing this. (Aplogies if this question is a bit off-topic)

  114. Leo, I enjoy your letter very much and you have answered many questions. It is Oct. 17, 2016 and my WLM is long gone which I loved. I am using now and do not like it. My question is that with WLM I had Photo Gallery and could do so many things with it and now I can not use it. Is there a way that I can change some controls so I can still use it. It was so easy to attach several photos on an email using it. Thank you for any help.

  115. It is business!!!!! competition Got it. shame on at&t and Comcast for screwing with Office, Outlook. Maybe it is time to keep calling support and take the survey./ Give them, Comcast a LOW number and then U can vent a little. I did and now Comcast has improved their e-mail IF U want to go to their home page and view their advertising! We just can’t seem to have a good day without these bunglers screwing us so we see the ADVERTISING………

  116. I really, really dislike … It’s much more difficult to use (why this ‘outlook is opening your mailbox’-start? Totally useless since it takes time to open. mails take up much more space on the screen, like when in hotmail, 10 mails, now is 5 mails?) both in Android phones and in Windows 10. You are right I dislike the mail-programmed in EDGE to, even worse than

    • I use Thunderbird for all my email accounts including The only time I ever look at is when I have to research an Ask Leo! answer.

  117. 13 years and this thread still lives! Amazing. More amazing is how Microsoft still doesn’t care how much people hate their email software and web-based email access interface.

  118. It’s funny how I keep reading that Outlook Express is dead. Every time I turn on my WinXP computers there it is! Alive and well. Occasionally it’ll download duplicate emails, but most of the time it’s still very comfortable, warm, and fuzzy. My dictionary must have a different definition for “dead”.

  119. Is there any advantage to use an mail address with Outlook Office? Is that better than a gmail account with Outlook Office ?

  120. The Hotmail replacement (OUTLOOK.COM) is not nearly as nice as the old Hotmail interface, so I tried switching to the Office Outlook application. It works well, when it works, but I have a lot of trouble getting it to ask for my credentials. When it doesn’t ask, it won’t connect to Exchange server to get my e-mail. Whenever it finally does ask for credentials and connects, it doesn’t always stay connected. Sometimes it will stay connected for hours; other times it will show “Disconnected”, “Limited Connectivity” or “Trying to Connect”. Sometimes it will reconnect and sometimes it won’t. I haven’t been able to figure this out so that I can get consistent results.

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